THE FAILURE of President Rodrigo Duterte in his latest attempt Friday to enter war-torn Marawi City proved anew that there is indeed an ongoing rebellion — as the State has claimed before the Supreme Court to justify martial law in Mindanao.
The President’s inability to march into Marawi to show government’s regaining full control of the devastated city was attributed to bad weather, but sources said it was actually due to security problems.
In a camouflage combat getup, the Commander-in-Chief made it only up to Iligan City some 37 kilometers north of Marawi, where rebel holdouts have been battling government forces for seven weeks now.
The Supreme Court recognized on July 4 the rebellion as a valid basis (one of two situations, the other one being an invasion, which is absent) of the President’s Proclamation No. 216 placing Mindanao under martial law.
Abangan: How will the Duterte regime prolong the state of rebellion in Marawi and adjacent places or widen the area of insurrection if the game plan, as reported, is to extend martial law beyond the July 23 expiration of the 60-day proclamation?
The next day, July 24, President Duterte will deliver his second State of the Nation Address before a joint session of the Congress. Will he announce the end or an extension of martial law?
The administration is in a dilemma — torn between admitting there is a raging rebellion just to justify martial law and denying there is still unabated terrorism that scares away tourists and investors.
The insurrection’s impact on the nation’s political and economic stability – and image — could be disastrous. The war has strained the budget for war materiel, mobilization, maintaining the morale of the troops, and the rebuilding of devastated areas.
• Can faster Internet be legislated?
WITH its average Internet connection speed of just 5.5 Mbps (Megabits per second), the Philippines ranks No. 100 globally, with South Korea No. 1 at 28.6 Mbps, and Paraguay No. 148 at 1.4. (Mbps is a measure of network transmission or data transfer speed.)
No wonder we still hear such apocryphal stories as that of a junior executive in Makati texting his wife in Quezon City, driving through the horrendous EDSA traffic and arriving home ahead of his message.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. has filed House Bill 5337 giving the National Telecommunications Commission powers to compel providers to improve service by escalating connection speeds within deadlines and imposing heavy fines for laggards.
In Asia Pacific, the Philippines’ 5.5 Mbps is way behind Thailand’s 16 Mbps, Vietnam’s 9.5 Mbps, Malaysia’s 8.9 Mbps and Indonesia’s 7.2 Mbps, according to Akamai Technologies Inc.’s global Internet report as of the first quarter of 2017.
Akamai reported that in the first quarter, the global average peak connection speed increased 28 percent year-over-year to 44.6 Mbps. In the Americas, the United States had the highest average connection speed at 18.7 Mbps, and the highest peak connection speed at 86.5 Mbps.
The global average peak connection speed is 44.6 Mbps, while the global average connection speed is 7.2 Mbps. Singapore had the highest peak connection speed at 184.5 Mbps, and South Korea again had the highest average connection speed at 28.6 Mbps.
Campos’ bill seeks to classify Internet service as “a basic telecommunications service” within the regulatory power of the NTC. At present, it is only a “value-added service,” making it difficult for the agency to require higher standards.
The congressman noted that the Philippines now ranks No. 15 worldwide in absolute number of Internet users, with some 54 million Filipinos, or 52 percent of the population, browsing the web.
Internet World Stats reports that as of March 31, 2017, the top five countries with the highest number of Internet users are: China, 731.4 million; India, 462.1 million; the US, 286.9 million; Brazil, 139.1 million; and Indonesia, 132.7 million.
Those ranked just below the Philippines are Italy, with 51.8 million users; Vietnam, 49.7 million; Turkey, 46.1 million; South Korea, 45.3 million; and Thailand, 41 million.
• Top Chinese airline to serve Clark
CHINA EASTERN Airlines, China’s second largest passenger carrier, is set to begin on Oct. 18 its flights from Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.
China Eastern is a legacy carrier with a strong presence on routes in Asia, North America and Australia. Of the deal making Clark another CEA hub, Alexander Cauguiran, CIAC President/CEO, said:
“The great news is that travelers from North and Central Luzon may now fly China Eastern from Clark to Shanghai and easily connect to the US and other major destinations in Europe and Asia and other international routes.”
In 2016, Clark logged 6,205 international and domestic flights with 950,732 passengers for local and foreign routes. From January to May 2017, Clark has registered 632,713 passengers and 4,603 domestic and international flights. It now has 130 international flights and 114 domestic flights weekly. Passenger traffic is projected to reach 1.5 million by end of 2017.
Btw, in my Postscript last Thursday, one paragraph that I was compressing ended up saying erroneously that the Tutuban (Manila)-Clark railroad line will start operating in the last quarter of 2017. That is an impossible feat!
The correct original paragraph read: “Thirteen train sets of eight cars each running at up to 120 km/hour are expected to carry some 350,000 passengers in the first year of operations. Construction will start in the last quarter of 2017 and be completed by the last quarter of 2021. The two-hour trip by bus between Clark and Manila will be slashed to some 55 minutes by train.”